John Worth

John Worth loved model airplanes.  As much as he loved his family, his friends, and his many fellow modelers, young and old, near and far, before and after everything else, he loved to fly.

He also loved life.  He was curious, optimistic, and fascinated with a great many things. He spent much of his time “in the moment,” looking neither behind nor ahead with much worry or doubt.  From his childhood to his final week, he was learning.  His tastes were simple and his expectations straightforward.  His days were punctuated by his delight in often modest pursuits.

John Worth’s life could have been marked by many early sorrows.  But he seemed to harbor a sense of privilege, more grateful for than expectant of whatever good came his way.

He accepted just about everybody who came into his orbit.  He might not have liked something or someone, but he didn’t seem to feel the need to change much about the world around him.

John Worth passed away peacefully and very quietly on October 23, 2011 at 10:22 p.m. in Sarasota, Florida, at the age of 87.  His daughter, Barbara, and his son, Mark, were at his bedside and the rest of his family and friends held him in their hearts, as they will always.

22 thoughts on “John Worth

  1. I feel it is impossible for any of us not to look up in the sky and wonder: “Where’s his plane?”

    Flying high, forever in the sky.

  2. It would be impossible to me to have met him personally, but I keep a respectfull interior image of his person,his work, his effort to bring the micro flight world to all people who loved those tinny pieces of art, and specially his respect to people who wanted to share theyrs modelers experiences with him. That happened to me, a brazilian guy at thousand of kilometers of distance, with whom he shared his models preferences one time, by the internet, and even published some photos of mine models. Thank you for that Mr. John. I’ll miss you a lot. Rest in peace forever at the side of our good Lord (and flying high with Him too!).

  3. I last corresponded with John a week before his death, sharing an interesting tidbit about a new micro motor called a “squiggle” motor. He was fascinated with it. Sharp to the end, and always a kid at heart. Those of us who love to build model airplanes know the “kid at heart” interest level. The bright eyes. The always inquiring mind.

    He became AMA president as I was graduating from high school and I met him and spent time with him at two NEAT fairs in 2006 and 2007. Charming. He was always supportive of my projects and the articles I wrote for RC Micro World, although I suspect he thought I went off the deep end when I became fascinated with ready to fly micro helis. 🙂 This winter I plan to dedicate to John the finishing of my most ambitious micro scale project: the Sikorsky S-38 flying boat. He loved this project. I only wish he could have lived to see it fly. He would have forgiven me for my RTF heli stage. 🙂

    A very good man. Will be missed. Condolences from our family to his family. Although e-mail and social media sites have become the modern thing, would someone be kind enough to either post or send me an actual mailing address for his family?

    • Hi Dick, I’d love to see your Sikorsky fly some day. As far as reaching the family, two of my sisters and I are split between 2 houses in Sarasota and my other sister lives at the foot of the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia. Because this is a public forum, please contact me at my email and I’d be happy to pass along addresses:

      Best Regards,
      Mark Worth

  4. It’s hard to say so long and goodbye to a dear friend I’ve meet a few times in my life. But he was a huge inspiration to me and was fortunately to have gotten his autobiography. I will always have him in my heart and when I fly I’ll be looking up in the sky for his plane. Fly high and fly free John see you above the clouds where the sun always shines.
    Paul Stamison

  5. I never met John Worth, but his daughter Christine is one of the friends I value most in this world. And just as we all expect to be judged by our actions, any man who raised such fine children — and whose children loved him so much — truly led a life worth living.

  6. He was one of the lucky ones – he spent his life doing what he wanted to do, not what he had to do. Met him, respected him, spoke with him many times, Will not forget him.

  7. Never met John in person, but I count myself so lucky to have known him through his words and his deeds. I hope someday we can fly togeher.

  8. It is always sad for those left behind. Never good to discover the news when a profoundly significant human being and friend has passed beyond his Earthly bounds. However any person is never really gone, as long as they live on in the memmories of those whose lives they touched. A truly great person like John touched so many, loved so fondly, is marching proudly along with us still. It may just seem a bit distant, and deffinitly impossible to go visit right now, but in the scheme of Eternity, this is just but a passing blink of the eye, and soon we will all meet, and be together again.

    Better bring an airplane, and something cool to see if John approves! John will be remembered as bigger than life to many. He would also want to be remembered as one of us, a modeler, a friend, a flyer, a leader, and a loved one to his family. He definitely has earned respect and gratitude, but was down to Earth enough to be just one good friend. There aren’t really that many like him out of the Billions on Earth. But for those that are, there is an exclusive club like no other, and John is probably getting elected to run it tonight.

    God Bless John and his family, my prayers go out so you may make peace with this time. As you find yourself remembering the things that bring you smiles, doing the things you do, just as John had done, he is with you. Alive inside your very Soul, happy and proud to have shared the journey. Still guiding, protecting, and also patiently waiting. Family is forever, relish it.


  9. Dr.Sandy Frank

    We were friends since the 1950s

    you were appreciated and will be missed…

    Pleasing thoughts and soft landings…

    Dr. Sandy Frank
    AMA Fellow # L69

  10. My condolences to the family
    I enjoyed visiting with John at AMA HQ and tried to see him on my every visit to DC for Hughes Aircraft Co. Later when my son attended school in DC my wife and spent a very pleasant afternoon with John.

    Roland A, Boucher AMA 961
    Contest Director and Member of the AMA Hall Of Fame

  11. I was lucky, I met John once for some RC talk and flying with my friend Jin, who introduced me to John. We had a fun afternoon, John was pretty cool and loved this hobby. He is flying still ….


  12. In the world of micro modeling, John was like a father to us. For decades he wrote about all the amazing gadgets and all aspects of micro modeling. He was very enthusiastic about anything new and interesting about flying projects. We learned a lot from John.
    At the NEAT and KIEF micro tech seminars, John was my first guest. He told us all about new developments and progress of the micro RC world.
    About a month ago we were flying our indoor micro models in Saraota FL. He always flew some very interesting and unusual models. He loved new and old technology.
    We’ll miss him very much,
    Sergio Zigras

  13. I had the good fortune to meet John on a few occasions. He was a true gentleman and aeromodeller. We in our wonderful hobby are lucky to have had the company of such a superb practioner of our hobby. Thank you John, for all you did for us.

  14. John served as a member of the National Association of Rocketry’s ( Board of Trustees and graciously passed along his working knowledge about non-profit management to a young Trustee. I used those teachings all the time during the rest of my volunteer years in the NAR. As a modeler, he was just as interested in our rockets he was in the airplanes. If it flew, it was OK with John. What an honor to have known him!

    Mark B. Bundick
    Past President, NAR
    Proud AMA member

  15. My sincere condolences to the Worth family. John and I go way back to the 70’s. John was one of the greatest organizers I have ever met. One of the most memorable events John organized was the AMA Model Air Show for Transpo ’72 the opening of Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.. John asked me to fly my Bell Huey Cobra R/C helicopter for that event. The week long (full size and model) air show drew over 250,000 spectators; a great publicity opportunity for AMA. I also enjoyed working with John as R/C Helicopter event director at several AMA NATS’ and the FAI F3C World Championship at the 1989 2nd Aerolympics. The 1974 and 1989 Aerolympics were John’s idea for multi event FAI World Championships. Both events were great successes. I traveled with John to many FAI meetings in Paris and John made those trips very interesting with occasional side trips to England and Belgium. I will never forget how well he organized these trips, even to the point that everyone on the trip knew where everyone else was at any time. Thank you for letting me be a part of your modeling career.

    Horace G. Hagen

  16. I only new John personally in his later years, but knew of him ever since I was an AMA member. What a kind and caring soul was John. His soul will fly with us forever when we take out our models.

  17. I had a chance to acquainted with John for 3 last years of John’s life.
    I respected him for his achievement and contribution to the model airplanes but I respect him more for his open mindedness and unassuming personality.
    John gave me a valuable lesson of having positive attitude about the world.
    He sure was a great mentor and a good friend to hang out with.

    Here is a link dedicated to John’s passing.

  18. November 3, 2011

    To Lillian Worth & Family:

    It is with great sadness I ask you to please accept my deepest and most sincere condolence. I just this minute, for some unknown reason, decided to log onto the AMA Web Site and discovered the alarming news. Strange I would log on today as I have not visited the site in years.

    Your loss is my loss. My tenure with John will be cherished to the end of my days and in that place we’ve been promised.

    I knew John before, during and after my sojourn with AMA. While I started out with a grudge with the Academy and John as it’s head, his positive demeanor and outstanding personality soon had me wanting to be his friend and advancing my involvement with the organization.

    You will never know how I always loved getting John’s Christmas report and through it was able to keep up with his going’s on.

    Unfortunately for me we were a continent apart and only met on to few occasions. Notwithstanding, we were always able to sneak off and spend quality time in dreams and pleasant reminiscing. He is the kind of guy you look up to and want to hang out with.

    My thoughts of John then, now and forever will be of the highest regard. He will forever remain in my heart as Mr. AMA.

    Take heart Lilian in the most pleasant thoughts of the happy reunion that you and I will most likely not have to wait to long for.

    Dorothy and I will be offering our next Mass and take great pleasure in having John remembered at same.

    Deepest sympathy and highest regards to you and your family.

    Regg Keyawa
    Vice President Emeritus,
    Academy Of Model Aeronautics,
    District 10

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